On Saturday, the greatest argument in favor of ditching school turned 30 years old. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was not only one of John Hughes’s finest films, but an ageless delight that invented YOLO, and gave us Ferris Bueller, icon and hero.
But what if…it didn’t?
The most popular fan theory regarding Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is that the film is a Fight Club situation. That Ferris is a figment of Cameron’s imagination, an invention to cope with his shitty life.
One day while he’s lying sick in bed, Cameron lets “Ferris” steal his father’s car and take the day off, and as Cameron wanders around the city, all of his interactions with Ferris and Sloane, and all the impossible hijinks, are all just played out in his head. This is part of the reason why the “three” characters can see so much of Chicago in less than one day — Cameron is alone, just imagining it all.
It isn’t until he destroys the front of the car in a fugue state does he finally get a grip and decide to confront his father, after which he imagines a final, impossible escape for Ferris and a storybook happy ending for Sloane (“He’s gonna marry me!”), the girl that Cameron knows he can never have.
The “evidence” that backs this up includes the film’s more fantastical elements, the “Save Ferris” messages that fill the town, the ability to see so much of Chicago in such a short time span and has inspired many a fan tribute.
But that isn’t the greatest fan theory. This one is.
Imaginary best friend, or literal mother fucker? You be the judge.